It’s common for some women over 40 to experience a sputtering sex drive, sluggish metabolism, lethargic energy levels, fluctuating moods and other cruel machinations of the aging process.
But life after 40 doesn’t have to be left to Mother Nature’s fate. Consider getting plenty of exercise, modifying your diet, and checking with your doctor about taking these seven best supplements for women over 40:
1. Strontium: Women over 40 with a family history that includes osteoporosis or risk factors associated with bone loss should take 340 mg a day of this mineral, says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, medical director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. “Strontium has been shown to be almost twice as effective as osteoporosis medications in improving bone density – without the side effects,” Teitelbaum says. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that postmenopausal women who supplemented with strontium increased bone mineral density of the lumbar spine by nearly 15 percent in a three-year period.
2. Ribose: Another “under-the-radar” nutrient, ribose can help increase energy by an average of approximately 60 percent after three weeks, according to Teitelbaum, who co-wrote a small study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, which concluded that two-thirds of the subjects who supplemented with ribose experienced more restful sleep and energy, mental clarity and less pain.
3. Vitamin D3: The benefits of vitamin D3 are numerous, and so many people are deficient nationwide, even in the “sunshine” states, says Dr. Keith Wharton, medical director of BodyLogicMD of Pittsburgh. “Research has shown that adequate levels of vitamin D3 can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of osteoporosis and even ward off depression,” says Wharton, who adds that deficiency in vitamin D can also lead to pain in various areas of the body. Supplementing with vitamin D3, in addition to receiving adequate amounts of sunlight, also may help elevate mood, according to several studies.
4. Folate: One of the B vitamins, folate may also help prevent or improve episodes of depression, according to an editorial in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. The paper concludes that birth defects, more prevalent for post-40 expectant mothers, may be prevented with adequate folate levels. Folate, according to Wharton, also is vital to long-term brain health, along with fish oils. “Sufficient levels of both fish oils and folate have been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline associated with aging, including dementia and Alzheimer’s,” Wharton says.
5. Calcium: When taken in conjunction with adequate levels of vitamin D, calcium absorption is maximized. Just be careful not to take it with iron or caffeine. Both bind calcium in the gut and impede absorption.
6. Hydrochloric acid: This (aka HCL or betaine hydrochloride) is the main digestive juice in the stomach, along with pepsin. Levels taper off after age 40, so women who experience bloating or indigestion may want to supplement with HCL.
7. Probiotics: The Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ) states that about 1 billion women every year suffer from non-sexually transmitted urogenital infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Many people are aware that probiotics are good for restoring the healthy bacteria in our digestive tracts, but can probiotics also help prevent UTIs? The PMJ reports that excessive use of antibiotics is one reason for the uptick in infections, and observations from a 1973 study concluded that women with no presence of a UTI had healthy levels of one strain of probiotics: lactobacilli. Will yogurt alone do the trick in preventing vaginal infections? Probably not, says the PMJ. “Unless the product is supplemented with (a starter culture and) antifungal lactobacilli … no infection reduction is likely.”